Reimagine Romkey


Romkey-Park-Graphic-with Splashpad  

Romkey History Header History of Romkey 

Established in 1956, the Romkey neighborhood has a rich history dating back several decades. Originally, Romkey Park encompassed the area south of 9th Avenue S. However, in 1957, additional land was generously deeded to the city to facilitate the construction of the Moorhead Pool, which officially opened its doors in 1958. Despite the typical lifespan of pools in our climate being 25 to 40 years, our pool has defied the odds, standing strong at 66 years old – surpassing its expected lifespan by 25 years. However, as time has passed, the aging facility and declining usage of amenities within the park have rendered it less functional for the community it serves.

Romkey Project Description Header Project Description 

The Reimagine Romkey Park initiative, officially known as Reimagine Romkey Park - Pool Replacement and Park Renewal, aims to enhance outdoor recreational offerings within the neighborhood. By replacing underutilized amenities, expanding recreational opportunities, and reconstructing the Moorhead Municipal Pool, the project seeks to revitalize the park and promote community engagement in outdoor activities.


Romkey Public Input Header Public Input 

To meet grant requirements and understand what the residents wanted, the City undertook significant community engagement efforts. This included mailing over 4,000 announcements to households within a one-mile walking radius of the park, as well as reaching out to participants in swimming lessons, after-school programs, and pool pass holders. An open house held on November 7, 2022, encouraged active participation from adults and children, featuring a 'build your own park' activity. Additionally, a public website and survey were established to gather feedback. Notably, 28% of respondents indicated residency within the neighborhood, highlighting robust community involvement. Children enrolled in the after-school program also contributed to the engagement process.


Romkey Concept Header Concept

The City prioritized the community's input regarding desired park amenities, alongside pool reconstruction. Following thorough feedback analysis, key amenities emerged, including a skatepark (21%), expanded playground (21%), food forest (17%), splash pad (14%), waterslide (14%), basketball courts (14%), landscape plantings (12%), and a sledding hill (12%). The finalized park concept reflects these preferences and features:

  • Pool with diving boards and water slide
  • Zero-Entry Wading Pool
  • Splashpad outside the pool fencing, accessible free of charge and extending the season
  • Community Room
  • Skatepark
  • Traditional Playground
  • Natural Playground
  • Food Forest and Sustainable Landscaping
  • Basketball Courts
  • Sledding Hill
  • Pickleball Courts
  • Soccer Field
  • Picnic Shelter
  • New Trails and Sidewalks


Romkey Funding Header Funding 

The City proposed a grant totaling $10 million for the project, with a 50-50 local match. The breakdown of funding is as follows:

  • City: $5 million, sourced from a combination of fund balance reserves (city reserves), bonding (borrowing), and private donations.
  • Federal: $5 million, awarded through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership grant.

Additional grants and donations are being pursued to augment park amenities beyond those outlined in the grant application. Since the application submission, the project cost has risen to $11.3 million, with the inclusion of the splash pad. Initially excluded due to cost constraints, the Moorhead City Council has approved funding for the splash pad, deeming it an essential project component.


Romkey Timeline Header Timeline 

Below is a timeline documenting the work that has taken place and work that will take place in the near future.

This image shows a timeline of the work that has been done including a grant application in summer 2022, public engagement fall 2022, grant submission January 2023, Award date November 2023, Council Approve RFP April 8, 2024

Romkey Future Timeline includes Council approves RFP April 8 2024, Complete Final Design April - June 2024, Demolition September 2024, Construction September 2024 - April 2026, Grand Opening of Pool June 2026

Romkey Request for Proposal Header Request for Proposal 

For more information on the RFP, please click here.


Romkey FAQ Header Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) grant?

The ORLP grant was created by Congress in 2014 and is a competitive grant program under the Department of the Interior’s Land and Wildlife Conservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service which can be used to fund a variety of outdoor recreation improvements.  Previously only cities with populations 50,000 or more could apply but the grant was opened up to smaller communities in 2022.


Why did you pick Romkey Park?  Why not build a new pool in a different park?

In order to apply for the ORLP grant, the City needed to meet very specific requirements which are intended to provide new recreation opportunities in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood. 

Romkey Park is one of the densest neighborhoods in Moorhead and meets the disadvantaged neighborhood threshold in the grant.  City staff looked at several other parks in the city in locations that matched the grant requirements and determined Romkey Park was the best suited and had the best chance of receiving this award.  In addition, the Moorhead Pool was built in 1958 and is in poor condition.  Without this grant and project, it is likely the pool would have failed in the near future leaving Moorhead without a public swimmable pool facility.


How long will the pool be closed?

It’s anticipated the pool will be closed for the 2025 season and be open in time for the 2026 season.  Many things must fall into place to make this possible.


Why is the pool being located in the exact same location?

The original deed for the land in 1957 requires the pool and pool building to be located 100 ft north of where 9th Avenue S would have continued through the park.


Why are you not building an indoor pool?

The ORLP only funds outdoor recreation amenities.  Indoor facilities are not eligible for funding through this program. We continue to collaborate with the Moorhead High School to offer swimming lessons and water exercise when the Municipal Pool is closed.


Will my taxes go up for this project?

No.  No tax increases or special assessments will occur from this project.  Local funding will be covered from the fund balance, bonding, and private donations.


Will the Neighborhood Recreation Center be replaced?

This space will now be a part of the new pool building. It will have a large community room that will be used for year-round programming. During the summer it will be used for pool parties and staff training. During the school year it will be used for after school programming, babysitting courses, and CRP classes.


Will the splash pad be inside the pool area?

No, it will be outside the fenced area and free to the public.  The number of days the splashpad will be open will exceed the main pool as no lifeguards will be needed, which is a major factor in keeping the pool open. 


What size pool and amenities will this facility have?

This facility will have a 25-meter pool that ranges in depth from 3-5 feet. It will have a designated diving well and slide area. There will also be a zero-depth entry wading pool, providing a safe swimming space for all ages. The pool building will have a universal locker room, community room, concessions, and a designated staff area. This recreational facility will allow us to accommodate the volume of swimmers we typically see for open swim. We currently average 270 swimmers daily. Based on water depth and design, it will also allow us to increase our numbers for swimming lessons, water exercise and lap swim, as needed.


What will the fees be for this facility?

The splash pad will be free and open to the public with extended dates and times. The gated pool area will have similar fees to what the currently charge at the Moorhead Municipal Pool. Our goal is to keep this facility at a reasonable cost for families. Scholarships will continue to be available for season passes.  


What type of parking will this facility have?

Many of the users walk, get dropped off, or ride their bike to the facility.  Designers have determined that there is ample street parking, on the north and east side of the facility, to accommodate the attendees. This allowed us to keep more park space and use the funding for other amenities.  

This is a photo of Romkey Pool during the summer with people swimming and the text reimagine Romkey over the top of the image and the Parks and Rec logo